What’s Wrong with Christian Theology? – 1. The abrogation of the law

Jeremiah 16:19 “LORD, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of affliction, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, even vanity and things in which there is no profit.”

This prophecy shall serve as a warning to all of us. It should prompt us all to examine our own religions to make sure that what we hold as truth is not falsehood, lies inherited from our fathers in the faith. How do we know they are true if we never tested, questioned them? Is it not our responsibility as individuals to seek some kind of proof?

Christianity for long has taught that the law of Moses was abolished by the cross of Christ. If it is so, we need to find proof from prophecy. However, we find quite the opposite:

Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

You shall notice, that the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah is not characterised by a state of existence where there is no law, indeed, such idea is foreign to the Tanakh (from the initial Hebrew letters of Torah, Nevi’im, and Kethubim – the “Law”, “Prophets” and “Writings”). Knowing God is obeying him:

1John 2:3 “And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He who says “I know him” but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

When we consider the passage about the giving of the law in Deuteronomy, we immediately notice the difference between the mosaic covenant and the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah:

Deut. 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; 5 and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

In the mosaic covenant people were instructed to learn the law by heart and teach their children also how to obey them, that is, how to know the LORD. In the new covenant there is no need for such teaching, for the law is not given on tablets of stones, but into the heart. Therefore, the difference between the two covenants is the way the law is given. Here traditional Christian theology falls flat.

We may also consider other passages that refer to the righteous, who obeyed God:

Ps 37:32 “The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.”

Ps 40:9 “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

Isa 51:7 “Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; don?t you fear the reproach of men, neither be you dismayed at their insults.”

We can see that the having the law in the heart was not confined to the new covenant only, but that in the mosaic covenant putting the law into one’s heart was the person’s own responsibility, while in the new covenant it is God who puts it there.

Putting the law in the heart is synonymous with putting the spirit of God in the heart. The result is obedience. Let us consider the following passage and compare them with the ones before:

Ezek 36:27 “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.”

The result of having the law (or the spirit) in the heart is obedience, not the denial of the law.

Traditional Christian theology teaches that Christ abolished the law. Let us consider the opinion of Jesus on the matter:

Matthew 5:17 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them [i.e. as a duty]. 18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished [i.e. all prophecies come to pass]. 19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus thus testifies about the permanency of the law, not about its abolishment. He did not come to abolish the law, but to uphold it, to strengthen it. The idea that the law has been abolished comes from passages in Paul’s epistles, which – I contend – have been badly misinterpreted.

Commentary

Leave a response »

Leave a comment, a trackback from your own site or subscribe to an RSS feed for this entry. Trackback URL for this entry Comments feed for this entry

Leave a response

Leave a URL

Preview